Cedar Valley Transportation Center

August 19, 1999
Ground-breaking ceremony

By Cameron Hanson-News Editor

Retirement may be more than a month away yet, but Darrel Rensink is already making plans for his life after stepping down as director of the Iowa Department of Transportation. 
"Hopefully, a year from now, I can join you here to cut the ribbon," Rensink said in closing to the crowd gathered for the Wednesday ground-breaking of the Cedar Valley Transportation Center (CVTC) on the south edge of Charles City.

The morning ceremony was a historic event as dignitaries from the state and local level celebrated not only the beginning of a new joint maintenance facility but also the dawn of a new way of thinking in government.

"This is really memorable to be able to join hands with each other as government units and be able to do something that's very innovative and something that I think will be very special," Rensink said.

As a shared facility, the center-located off of South Grand Avenue north of the future interchange with the Avenue of the Saints-will house the equipment and employees of the IDOT, Floyd County and the city of Charles City. 

It marks the first time all three entities in government have worked together to build a joint transportation and maintenance facility in the state. 

"It's a great time for our community," said Charles City Mayor Jim Erb, who emceed the 45-minute formal event. "Over the horizon, the Avenue of the Saints is about to usher in a new era probably for this community, and as we stand here today, we are hopefully at least enhancing a new era in terms of governmental sharing." 

Carrying a price tag of $3.6 million, the center has been a work-in-progress for more than three years now. It began as the county was looking to build a salt shed and the IDOT wanted to improve its Charles City facility. 

After the city came on board, a task force was formed, and earlier this year, the Iowa Legislature approved special financing to help the city and county afford its share. 
"This has been a long-awaited event," Erb said. 

Credited with being the "matchmaker" in all of this was the Iowa Department of Economic Development (IDED), which recently began advocating sharing partnerships and awarded the project a grant to coordinate the three parties involved. 

Also on hand for yesterday's ceremony, IDED Director David Lyons said sharing is doubly rewarding for those involved because it increases opportunities and decreases costs. Therefore, both he and Rensink billed the CVTC as the best use of taxpayer dollars and as an example for the rest of the state to follow. 

"We would like to think that this is the first in a number of major initiatives we would like to do with all of the communities along the Avenue of the Saints," Lyons began, "to not only share services but also jointly take care of new opportunities that will come in economic development." 

"This is a wonderful example of what we can all do together if we put our minds to it," Rensink said. "It is for the benefit of our taxpayers when something can be done in a mutual and joint arrangement. 

"It was once said that getting something done was an accomplishment but getting something done right is an achievement," he continued. "I think what we are all here for today is to celebrate an achievement."

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